Steve Duin on the Michael Phelps “oh my God inspirational sports heroes occasionally do stupid things like smoke marijuana” scandal:
Michael Phelps and illusions of perfection – OregonLive.com
I always thought the crime of “betraying” America was reserved for spies, war profiteers and Ponzi schemers, rather than world-class swimmers who might have a buzz on. (Phelps has apologized that he “engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment,” but he has yet to admit that he was one toke over the line.)
To get myself up to speed on this savage betrayal of all we hold dear, I decided to check out the fine print on Phelps’ gold medals. You know, the stern warnings that victory in the Olympic pool requires that he immediately forfeit his youth, his privacy and his margin of error.
The formal announcement that, as a celebrity icon, Phelps must now live in accordance with the (generally) hypocritical standards and expectations of people he’s never met.
I have yet to find those cautionary notes, but they must be around somewhere. They explain the hysterical criticism of a 23-year-old kid who worked like a backstroking dog for four years to make much lazier Americans feel good about themselves and who was enjoying a few weeks off before he dove back into the deep end of Olympic training and Olympian ideals.
He was hugging a bong, sports fans. Not an Uzi, not a pit bull, not a tobacco lobbyist. He’s Seth Rogen, not Michael Vick.